When I was doing high jump, the thing that always kept me going was the pursuit to win. In the early days, I used to lose the event, but I knew that one day I would improve so much so that I would win and even possibly break records.
If this sounds like a similar story, then you need to follow what I’m saying.
I personally went from losing in the high jump to being undefeated in my region and state for 4 years. I was twice Australian champion and at one time I was an Australian record holder and the Pacific champion.
What made me go from losing to winning?
Many people that want to succeed in the high jump don’t get themselves prepared. You cannot just rock up on the day and expect to achieve a personal best. Your body has a natural ability to jump as high as it can, but with the right preparation, body conditioning and technique, you will actually be in a much more competitive position to win and potentially break your personal best.
What kind of things do you need to prepare?
Most people just run out from the centre of the bar with 7-9 paces. If you want to excel in the high jump, your take off foot must be in the take-off area. This is because the area where your foot lands will allow you to transfer any horizontal force into a vertical leap.
Your body will lift to a maximum point, which should be directly over the bar. It’s this sweet spot over the bar that you need to perfect if you want to give yourself the best chance to achieve your personal best and win the high jump.
The start of your curve.
You must know exactly where to start your curve in towards the bar so that you can use the centripetal force to help lift your body over the bar. Without this, you will either turn too early or too late, resulting in you missing the take-off area and messing up your jumping attempt.
How can you correct your runup?
Your runup must be measured. You need to use measuring tape and some tape to mark the areas that you need to hit. It is then a series of repetition to train your body and your mind to execute the steps and hit the mark at the right place and at the right time so you will execute each phase of the high jump approach.
As you start to become familiar with the high jump, you will notice that you will have the confidence to control your approach to the bar and even improve your acceleration and speed.
As long as you maintain control and hit each of your high jump marks when doing your runup, you will give yourself the best chance of clearing higher heights.
You must always, always have the confidence that you will win and jump higher than you have ever jumped before. The very first high jump I did, I think I cleared 0.85m at 9 years old. The best that I ever achieved in a competition was 2.06m by the time I was 17. Although I cleared 2.04m when I was 15 years old back in 1998.
The day that I cleared 2.04m, my personal best was 1.95m. It was at the Australian championships and I had 2 failed attempts at 1.92m. Before that competition, I had done a school competition and lost because I had the wrong mindset, which led to having poor preparation.
After that loss, my sole objective was to win. And to jump the winning height, no matter what it was.
Faced with my 3rd failure, I just focused on executing and successfully cleared the bar.
I saw the bar low, I visualised how I would jump high. I visualised how I would win.
I cleared 1.95m, 1.98m, 2.01m and 2.04m all on my first attempt.
2.04m was the winning height and was the new record.
Visualise your win. And execute every technique and phase that will allow you to get it.
Set your goals.
You must set goals. And from your goals, you will have your strategy. Don’t just turn up to a competition and hope that you will jump for the best. Plan to increase your personal best by 10cm. Then develop a plan that will allow you to achieve that. If you know the height that it takes to win in your competition, then write it down as your goal and ask yourself “How do you plan to jump that?” Write down your plan and then do whatever it takes to make it happen.
You need to set short, medium and long-term goals. The biggest mistake that many high jumpers make is that they want to start winning their competition when it is the following week. It’s actually more important to set goals over a 9-12 month plan so you can do the base training that will allow your body’s condition to handle more explosive exercises and will ensure that you will jump higher than any of your competitors.
The best book that I ever read about setting goals in athletics was Michael Johnson’s ‘Slaying the dragon’. It is a must-read if you are serious about setting goals that will allow you to become a champion. And who better to learn from than someone who won Olympic medals and set world records. You can click here to purchase it on Amazon.
It’s common to have alot of failures. But when you clear the bar successfully, it is amazing. You only need to win when it matters. So be patient and do the training to learn what you are doing wrong and take the time to learn how to do it right.
Improve your technique.
In the lead up to your competition, you will be able to refine your technique to get those extra few centimetres above the bar. You will be able to improve your arching, your timing over the bar, your knee drive, your acceleration and your form. This is the final 20% that you need to work on after you have worked on your other preparations.
Condition your body.
Most of your success will come from conditioning your body. Learning the technique over the bar is the icing on the cake. You must learn what explosive exercises will increase your muscle strength and power so you will be able to get the extra height to jump over the bar successfully. You can follow the exercises and drills in our ebook.
Measuring improvement and success.
Track your progress. Buy a notepad or track it in an app on your phone. But know where you start, where you want to finish, and at least once a month, do a training session to see how much you have improved by.
The advice I have shared is exactly what I used to transition myself from losing in the high jump to winning.
If you would like to share anything, please leave your comments in the section below.
Thank you for reading.
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